He is risen.
It’s Resurrection Sunday. Today, more than any other day in the Christian calendar, we’re reminded of God’s great plan to reconcile man to himself. As Christians, we believe that Jesus, having taken the weight of sin upon his shoulders, rose from death on the third day, fulfilling God’s promise to send the Messiah.
This day is a day that rings with hope. Hope not only an the end to sin and suffering in the life to come, but hope for the present suffering of this world. If we look around the world we live in, it quickly becomes obvious that we need a message to inspire hope, to lift us up from despair that can so easily descend. Christians are encouraged to be a light in this world – which brings up a lot of questions around the best way to be a light in these dark times.
I’d encourage all of us, as we consider this deep question of life through the lens of Easter, to bare in mind that the salvation Jesus offers is not intended to be simply be a future state for people to achieve. The Epistles of the New Testament don’t spend the majority of their time teaching people how to prepare for death and the promise of resurrection then. They focus on loving one another, on building the Kingdom of God, and importantly, on helping those in need now, in this life, at this very moment.
The facts are that we all need Jesus’ resurrection power to not only be evident when people die. The power of God’s Holy Spirit is not simply limited to salvation and enabling people to know God. In truth it enables lives and communities to be wholly transformed. We see through Jesus’ interactions with people in his lifetime that those who met Him were challenged and changed. You cannot encounter Jesus and walk away the same – God is too gracious to allow us that luxury. Like Saul on the road to Damascus, we too can walk away from meeting Jesus with a new vision for life, with hope for the future.
Are we living this Gospel of transformation today? Is our heart set on the needs of now, of those around us who are suffering, isolated and oppressed? We cannot claim to truly believe in the power of Resurrection Sunday if we try to limit that power to personal salvation. God, through the Holy Spirit, has given us a chance to confront the difficult circumstances of this world – to stand up to its corrupting power and overwhelming disadvantage. He has enabled us to live a life that Jesus promised – life in all it’s fullness.
So let’s celebrate Resurrection Sunday – a day when Jesus opened a way to the Father, giving Himself an offering once for all time. And we can now live not only in the hope of future glory, but in the reality of a very present salvation, which has the power to transform this world for the better. And that’s something we’re all still desperately in need of.
He is risen indeed.